Young George Dark wants his dad to be happy, so he gives him the best Christmas present he could possibly wish for.
Felicity Echo is happy to service a wish for George, but does it have to involve being all tied up in tinsel?
Felicity Echo, or Flick as she preferred, always liked to service a Christmas wish. The first one she did was for a handsome man of the Summer Court who wanted to dance the night away with an elf maid before his wedding to the love of his life. Flick was only half elf, but a glamour enhanced her appearance to make her the prettiest elf maid the man had ever seen. At dawn on his wedding day, he kissed her, bowed, and went happily off to take the hands of his forever.
Next on the list was a pisky maid from Treborrow, in the pisky hills, who had bruised her self-esteem. After a day out with Flick, playing with two handsome water lads, she was back to her high opinion of herself and her world.
It was coming into another Christmas now, but before she got down to business with this year’s wish, Flick was going over there—the human world.
She smiled as she sauntered through the knot garden and down the wide sweep of steps that led to the water meadows below the castle. She hadn’t seen Cousin Niall in ages—not since she spent a memorable year sharing his grungy flat, learning to pass as human. Along the way, she’d learned to eat strange things out of something called plastic, and not to panic in cars. She’d also pushed buttons hopefully until Niall told her to keep her fairy fingers to herself.
Now, Niall had his fairy fingers—and some other bits—happily occupied with someone named Frances. Frances believed she was human, but Niall’s mother, Natalia, said she couldn’t be human all the way. She had left-hand magic, which argued fay heritage of some sort.
“Oh?” Flick had asked Natalia with interest. “Elf? Pixie?”
“It’s hard to tell.” Natalia had settled down for a good gossip. “I just say fay, because that covers the lot of us. She’s got the most glorious red hair, so I suspect there’s a drop of leprechaun in there somewhere. It might be something more exotic, but the Great Bogle knows, really. She can’t see the gates, so it’s pretty well watered down.”
“So long as Niall’s happy,” Flick said.
“Oh, Niall is happy, and therefore, so am I.”
The gateway to over there was under a bridge, so Flick waded through a dense clump of springyweed, ducked out of the late evening sunlight, walked ten paces through the gloom, caught the latch and let herself through into a quiet courtyard. She wrinkled her nose at the fumes in the air but knew from experience that she’d soon acclimatise. The lowering sun bathed the courtyard in golden light, drawing perfume from the pots of Christmas lilies and softening the outlines of the stone statues.
This was the city of Sydney. Niall had moved in with his lover here a year ago, and Flick figured it was time she paid them a visit.
She paused and got her bearings. Stepping from the Summer Court over there into a human city over here gave her a jolt, but this courtyard served as a kind of airlock where she could catch her breath and sort out some suitable clothing.
Something Christmassy, she decided. That would be fun, especially as Aunt Natalia said Frances was rather gorgeous.
Most fay conjured clothing by clicking their fingers or waving a hand, but Flick had her own gesture, raising both hands to the sides, palms upward. “Behold me!” It was something to do with the Christmas angel she manifested during a wish.
Her smock, suitable for her work as a confectioner in the Castle kitchen over there, vanished, replacing itself with—well, it was a robe, she supposed. Something Christmassy? Really?
A long gasp from above made her turn to gaze up at the row of windows in the second storey of the terrace house to which the courtyard belonged.